What is the difference between an open and closed adoption?

In Texas, an adoption may be classified as open or closed, but the majority of cases will exhibit elements of both. In an entirely open adoption, the birth parents meet with the adoptive parents and initiate post-placement visits. While the adoptive parents will raise the child in this type of adoption, the child’s biological parents will still play an active role in his or her life.

In a closed adoption, on the other hand, the birth parents do not play a direct role in the child’s life. Often conducted by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, closed adoptions require that the birth parents and the adoptive parents do not meet before, during or after the process. Additionally, the birth parents will not receive any information about the child as it gets older.

The most common type of adoption, a semi-open adoption allows the adoptive parents to raise the child while keeping the birth parents up to date about the child’s life through means such as pictures, email and postcards. The adoptive parents may meet the birth mother and the birth father in certain situations. As the child gets older, he or she may be able to decide whether he or she wants to meet his or her birth parents. The adoptive parents may also play a role in deciding whether the child should meet his or her birth parents.

In any adoption case, the best interests of the child must be taken into consideration. An open or semi-open adoption may allow those who are not ready to be parents to maintain a relationship with their children through visitation. As each case is unique, the above content should not be construed as legal advice. A family law attorney could assist a couple seeking to embark on the adoption process.

Source: Texas Tech University, “Adoption Options“, September 23, 2014